Normally, I wait until the end of the series to write about Maryland softball. I understand with the men's and women's basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament that the hearts and minds of most Maryland fans are attending to other interest. Hell, the Terps had two wrestlers survive into the second day of the NCAA Tournament, gymnastics is about to compete in their first Big Ten Championship and the baseball team is about to open its Big Ten season with a home doubleheader against Minnesota after ironically having their first game postponed due to snow.
I get it. Amid all of this softball's a blip on the collective Maryland sports scene. But at least this once, for this game, well, you just have to read about it and you still may not believe it.
Welcome To My Nightmare
Alice Cooper could not have scripted a worse first three innings of Big Ten play for Maryland than the Terps experienced. The Terps put two runners on via walks in the top of the first but could not advance them past third. They took a 1-0 lead on a walk and a pair of singles to start the inning and loaded the bases with one out but failed to score again bringing the total left on base to five after two innings.
Iowa tied the score on a solo home run in the bottom of the second. Erin Pronobis (remember her name) walked to lead off the third and scored on a single off the bat of Shannon Bustillos. The Terps took a 2-1 lead but stranded two more base runners. I will provide no more than a summary of the bottom of the third for Iowa: 11 Runs 7 Hits 1 Error 1 Left on Base.
That's not a misprint. The Hawkeyes scored 11 times in the bottom of the third to take a 12-2 lead. Trailing by 10 after three innings Maryland looked to be in danger of losing a run rule decision in their first Big Ten game.
The Big Ten sees a B1G Terrapins comeback
Fourth inning: Lindsey Schmeiser hits a lead off single. Hannah Dewey singles to right; Schmeiser to second. Corey Schwartz singles up the middle; Bases loaded. Pronobis homers to right. Iowa 12 Maryland 6.
The Terps actually put two more runners on but again failed to score. (That's nine LOB if you're not keeping track.) Iowa adds a run in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead to seven.
Fifth inning: Lindsey Schmeiser leads off with a double to left center. Dewey is hit by a pitch and Schwartz walks to load the bases. Pronobis singles to left center driving in Schmeiser. Terps trail 13-7. The bases remain loaded and Iowa retires the next two batters but Bustillos gets a clutch two out hit to right driving in two to end the scoring. Dewey, in relief of Kaitlyn Schmeiser, holds Iowa scoreless in the bottom of the inning. At the end of five, Iowa leads 13-9.
Sixth inning: Dewey draws a two out walk. Schwartz homers to right and the Terps are within two. The left handed swinging Pronobis goes to the opposite field tagging her second of the day. The back to back dingers pull Maryland within one at 13-12. Dewey again holds the Hawkeyes scoreless in the bottom half of the inning.
Seventh inning: Bustillos reaches on a one out single up the middle. Kaitlyn Schmesiser reaches on an infield single. Kylie Datil singles up the middle scoring Emma Mires who came in to run for Bustillos. Game tied. Lu Schmeiser doubles to center driving in Datil and her sister, KK. Maryland leads 15-13 going to the bottom of the seventh.
But the drama wasn't over. Dewey retired the first Iowa batter but the next two reached on a single and a fielder's choice. Maryland coach Courtney Deifel brought Kaitlyn Schmeiser, who had started the game, back in to pitch. It did not start well. Schmeiser gave up an infield single and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch.
The Terps intentionally walked Megan Blank who entered the game as Iowa's leading hitter with a .424 average and had homered earlier to load the bases once again. The move paid off as Holly Hoffman hit a sharp grounder to third. Schwartz fielded it cleanly, took two little crow hops to her right to tag the bag then threw across to Mandy Gardner at first who scooped the low throw out of the dirt to complete the double play and seal the 15-14 win for the Terrapins who had once trailed by 10.